May 5, 2011

Fatah-Hamas Pact and the Third Intifada (Updated 5/15/2011)

Israel-Palestinian Violence Erupts on Three Borders

By Haim Shafir, Reuters
May 15, 2011

Violence erupted on Israel's borders with Syria, Lebanon and Gaza on Sunday, leaving at least eight dead and dozens wounded, as Palestinians marked what they term "the catastrophe" of Israel's founding in 1948.

Israeli troops shot at protesters in three separate locations to prevent crowds from crossing Israeli frontier lines in the deadliest such confrontation in years.

Israeli and Syrian media reports said Israeli gunfire killed four people after dozens of Palestinian refugees infiltrated the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights from Syria, along a disputed border that has been quiet for decades.

Witnesses on the nearby Lebanese frontier said four Palestinians were killed after Israeli forces fired at rock-throwing protesters to prevent them from crossing the border.

The Lebanese army had also earlier fired in the air in an attempt to hold back the crowds.

On Israel's tense southern border with the Gaza Strip, Israeli gunfire wounded 60 Palestinians as demonstrators approached Israel's fence with the Hamas Islamist-run enclave, medical workers said.

In Tel Aviv, Israel's commercial hub, a truck driven by an Arab Israeli slammed into vehicles and pedestrians, killing one man and injuring 17 people.

Police were trying to determine whether the incident was an accident or an attack. Witnesses said the driver, who was arrested, ran amok with his truck in downtown traffic.

ALERT

Israeli security forces had been on alert for violence on Sunday, the day Palestinians mark the "Nakba," or catastrophe, of Israel's founding in a 1948 war, when hundreds of thousands of their brethren fled or were forced to leave their homes.

In the Druze village of Majdal Shams, on the Golan Heights captured by Israel from Syria in 1967, Mayor Dolan Abu Salah said between 40 and 50 Nakba demonstrators from Syria tore through the frontier fence.

Hundreds of protesters flooded the lush green valley that marks the border area, waving Palestinian flags. Israeli troops attempted to mend the breached fence, firing at what the army described as infiltrators.

"We are seeing here an Iranian provocation, on both the Syrian and the Lebanese frontiers, to try to exploit the Nakba day commemorations," said the army's chief spokesman, Lieutenant-Colonel Yoav Mordechai.

Syria is home to 470,000 Palestinian refugees and its leadership, now facing fierce internal unrest, had in previous years prevented protesters from reaching the frontier fence.

"This appears to be a cynical and transparent act by the Syrian leadership to deliberately create a crisis on the border so as to distract attention from the very real problems that regime is facing at home," said a senior Israeli government official who declined to be named.

In a Nakba protest in the occupied West Bank, Palestinian youths threw rocks at Israeli soldiers, who fired tear gas and rubber bullets in a clash at the Israeli military checkpoint outside the city of Ramallah -- a constant flashpoint.

A Palestinian teenager was shot dead during protests in Jerusalem on Friday. Police said it was unclear who had shot him and they were investigating. That shooting took place in the tense neighborhood of Silwan in East Jerusalem, where violence regularly breaks out between Palestinian stone throwers and Israeli police and Jewish settlers.

Palestinians want East Jerusalem as the capital of the state they intend to establish in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

Scores of Palestinians Have Been Injured in Clashes on the 63rd 'Nakba Day'

Al Jazeera
May 15, 2011

Several people have been killed and scores of others wounded in the Gaza Strip, Golan Heights, Ras Maroun in Lebanon and the Israeli-occupied West Bank, as Palestinians mark the "Nakba", or day of "catastrophe".

The "Nakba" is how Palestinians refer to the 1948 founding of the state of Israel, when an estimated 700,000 Palestinians fled or were expelled following Israel's declaration of statehood.

At least one Palestinian was killed and up to 80 others wounded in northern Gaza as Israeli troops opened fire on a march of at least 1,000 people heading towards the Erez crossing between the Gaza Strip and Israel.

A group of Palestinians, including children, marching to mark the "Nakba" were shot by the Israeli army after crossing a Hamas checkpoint and entering what Israel calls a "buffer zone" -- an empty area between checkpoints where Israeli soldiers generally shoot trespassers, Al Jazeera's Nicole Johnston reported from Gaza City on Sunday.

"We are just hearing that one person has been killed and about 80 people have been injured," Johnston said.

"There are about 500-600 Palestinian youth gathered at the Erez border crossing point. They don't usually march as far as the border. There has been intermittent gunfire from the Israeli side for the last couple of hours.

"Hamas has asked us to leave; they are trying to move people away from the Israeli border. They say seeing so many people at the border indicates a shift in politics in the area."

Separately in south Tel Aviv, one Israeli man was killed and 17 were injured when a 22-year-old Arab Israeli driver drove his truck into a number of vehicles on one of the city's main roads. Israeli police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said the driver, from an Arab village called Kfar Qasim in the West Bank, was arrested at the scene and is being questioned.

"Based on the destruction and the damage at the scene, we have reason to believe that it was carried out deliberately," Rosenfeld said. But he said he did not believe the motive was directly linked to the anniversary of the Nakba.

West Bank clashes

One of the biggest Nakba demonstrations was held near Qalandiya refugee camp and checkpoint, the main secured entry point into the West Bank from Israel, where about 100 protesters marched, Al Jazeera's Nisreen El-Shamayleh reported from Ramallah.

Some injuries were reported from tear gas canisters fired at protesters there, El-Shamayleh said.

Small clashes were reported throughout various neighbourhoods of East Jerusalem and cities in the West Bank, between stone-throwing Palestinians and Israeli security forces. Israeli police said 20 arrests were made in the East Jerusalem area of Issawiyah for throwing stones and petrol bombs at Israeli border police officers. About 70 arrests have been made in East Jerusalem throughout the Nakba protests that began on Friday, two days ahead of the May 15 anniversary, police spokesman Rosenfeld said.

Tensions had risen a day earlier after a 17-year-old Palestinian boy died of a gunshot wound suffered amid clashes on Friday in Silwan, another East Jerusalem neighbourhood.

Police said the source of the gunfire was unclear and that police were investigating, while local sources told Al Jazeera that the teen was shot in random firing of live ammunition by guards of Jewish settlers living in nearby Beit Yonatan.

'Palestinians killed'

Meanwhile, Syrian state television reported that Israeli forces killed four Syrian citizens who had been taking part in an anti-Israeli rally on the Syrian side of the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights border on Sunday.

Israeli army radio said earlier that dozens were wounded when Palestinian refugees from the Syrian side of the Golan Heights border were shot for trying to break through the frontier fence. There was no comment on reports of the injured.

There have also been reports that Israeli gunfire killed up to 10 people and injured scores more in the Lebanese town of Ras Maroun, on the southern border with Israel.

Matthew Cassel, a journalist in the town, told Al Jazeera that he saw at least two dead Palestinian refugees.

"Tens of thousands of refugees marched to the border fence to demand their right to return where they were met by Israeli soldiers," he said.

"Many were killed. I don't know how many but I saw with my own eyes a number of unconscious and injured, and at least two dead.

"Now the Lebanese army has moved in, people are running back up the mountain to get away from the army."

'End to Zionist project'

Israeli prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu addressed the events of "Nakba Day" in a televised statement on Sunday, particualrly referring to attempts to infiltrate Israel's borders with Syria, Lebanon and the Gaza Strip, saying "we are determined to defend our borders".

Netanyahu said that he instructed Israeli forces to act with restraint, but to stop all attempts at infiltration and challenges to Israel's sovereignty. He said that the "Nakba Day" protesters were not fighting for the 1967 borders as they claim, but were denying Israel's right to exist.

"We must understand who and what we are up against," Netanyahu said.

Earlier on Sunday Ismail Haniyeh, prime minister of Hamas-controlled Gaza, repeated the group's call for the end of the state of Israel. Addressing Muslim worshippers in Gaza City on Sunday, Haniyeh said Palestinians marked this year's "Nakba" "with great hope of bringing to an end the Zionist project in Palestine".

"To achieve our goals in the liberation of our occupied land, we should have one leadership,'' Haniyeh said, praising the recent unity deal with its rival, Fatah, the political organisation which controls the West Bank under Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas' leadership.

Meanwhile, a 63 second-long siren rang midday in commemoration of the Nakba's 63rd anniversary.

Over 760,000 Palestinians -- estimated today to number 4.7 million with their descendants -- fled or were driven out of their homes in the conflict that followed Israel's creation. Many took refuge in neighbouring Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt and elsewhere. Some continue to live in refugee camps. About 160,000 Palestinians stayed behind in what is now Israeli territory and are known as Arab Israelis. They now total around 1.3 million, or some 20 percent of Israel's population.



Deaths at Syria-Lebanon-Israel Borders

Three killed as thousands flee violent crackdown in Syrian town, while four others shot and killed near Israeli border.

Al Jazeera
May 15 , 2011

Three people have been shot dead and at least five others, including a Lebanese soldier, have been injured following gunfire near an unofficial border crossing between Syria and northern Lebanon.

They were targeted by snipers as they left a sit-in protest in the western Syrian town of Talkalakh on Sunday, a witness told the AFP news agency.

Syrian troops arrived in the town, just 5km from the Lebanese town of Wadi Khaled, on Saturday, prompting thousands to flee a violent crackdown that left killed four residents of the town dead -- a day after a protest there against the government of president Bashar al-Assad.

Meanwhile, Israeli forces shot dead four Syrians who were taking part in a pro-Palestinian protest on the Syrian side of the border with the occupied Golan Heights, Syrian state TV reported.

The protest was to commemorate the "Nakba", a day Palestinians call the "catastrophe" -- the anniversary of Israel's creation.

As many as 300 people from the Syrian village of Majdal Shams overwhelmed border patrols and breached part of the frontier, an eyewitness told Al Jazeera.

Back on the Lebanon-Syria border, dozens of families have attempted to escape the frontier town of Talkalakh over the past two days, Al Jazeera's Zeina Khodr reported from Beirut.

"There [has] been unrest there, it's one of the protest hubs," she said. "Some say up to 2,000 [have fled] in the past 48 hours."

An eyewitness on the border told Al Jazeera that at least 19 people had been wounded when the military swooped into Talkalakh on Saturday.

The violence came after more than 8,000 people attended a funeral in the provincial capital of Homs for one of three protesters killed on Friday by Syrian security forces.

Mourners for Fouad al-Rajoub gathered near Bab al-Dreib and began making their way through the city, chanting for an end to the siege on Homs, Baniyas and Deraa, the major flashpoints in the country's uprising.

An eyewitness in the city said that, due to the size of the procession, the military had removed and relocated some of the checkpoints it had established throughout the city since mass anti-regime protests erupted there last month.

Syrian army personnel were deployed in Talkalakh after officials said troops and tanks were pulled out of Baniyas and Deraa. Security barriers were set up at the entrances of the town and heavy gunfire was heard, according to activists. Security forces were deployed in surrounding villages as well.

Lebanese security officials said cracks of gunfire could be heard on the Lebanese side of the border.

Two months of violent upheaval in Syria have left at least 775 people dead.



Thousands Protest for Palestinian Right of Return

Associated Press
May 13, 2011

Thousands rallied in support of Palestinians on Friday, with demonstrators in Jordan's capital heeding a call by Facebook organizers to demand a sovereign Palestinian state, others near the Jordanian-Israeli border chanting "Death to Israel," and still more activists filling Cairo's Tahrir Square.

Palestinian youth groups called for protests in the West Bank and nearby Arab countries to mark the anniversary of the May 15, 1948, creation of the Jewish state. Palestinians call the anniversary the "day of catastrophe" because of the refugee crisis and loss of land that accompanied the creation of Israel.

About 500 protesters, demanding a sovereign Palestinian state and the right of refugees to return home, marched in Amman's downtown market district, some wearing Palestinian black and white kefiyahs or headscarves and holding keys to family homes left behind.

In Cairo, thousands rallied, beginning a Facebook-generated campaign aimed at marching on the borders of the Palestinian territories.

Egypt's powerful Muslim Brotherhood backed Friday's demonstration but did not favor a march to the borders. On Thursday, Egypt's ruling Military Council called on organizers to cancel the march. A few protesters who drove to North Sinai to reach the Gaza border said they were turned back by authorities.

Pro-Palestinian demonstrations are not unusual in Jordan or Egypt, but marches solicited on Facebook are. Organizers are apparently inspired by the uprisings in Egypt and other Arab countries that were heavily dependent on mobilization through social network sites.

In Cairo, where the protest was also called to denounce recent Muslim-Christian violence, Palestinian flags filled the square.

"Egypt is Palestine. All Arab nations are Egypt," said Ola Adel, a 20-year-old law student. "This protest is not about forming an army and heading to Gaza. It is about pressuring our officials to support the Palestinians demands."

The slogans reflected changes in the political climate, including the ousting of long-term leaders in Tunisia and Egypt and efforts by the Palestinians to get the United Nations to recognize their independence. "1948 and 1967 are the catastrophes, but 2011 is the Revolution of the Return," some of the protesters' signs read.

"We want to tell the world that Palestine and its refugees are not to be forgotten," said 21-year-old Amman dentistry student Omar Hassan, whose family hails from Bethlehem in the West Bank.

In the Jordan Valley near the Israeli border, nearly 5,000 Jordanians gathered.

"Enough is enough, the Zionist enemy's 43-year occupation of the West Bank is the longest in history," shouted Hamza Mansour, the leader of the Islamic Action Front, Jordan's largest opposition group.

"The occupation is a disgrace for the international community and it must end," added Mansour to loud applause from the crowd, who urged, "death to Israel."

Hundreds of thousands of Palestinians fled or were displaced during the Israeli-Arab wars in 1948 and 1967, and the fate of nearly four million Palestinian refugees and their descendants is one of the thorniest issues in the Middle East conflict.

Palestinian refugees live in a number of countries in the Middle East. Jordan hosts the largest number, and the refugees and their descendants are estimated to number nearly two million.

The Palestinians have long maintained that the refugees have a moral and legal right to return to what was once Palestine — including land which is now Israel. But Israel has argued that granting the right of return would compromise the country's identity as the world's only Jewish state.



Egyptian Activists Plan Million-man 'Third Intifada' Support

Al Jazeera
May 14, 2011

Following the February ousting of Egypt’s longstanding president Hosni Mubarak, calls have been circulating in Egypt and throughout the region for a ‘Third Intifada’ to begin May 15.
“Unlike the first two Palestinian uprisings, the proposed Third Intifada is meant to involve the entire Arab world,” said Egyptian journalist and political analyst Abdelhalim Kandil.
It began with the appearance of a Facebook page in early March calling for a ‘Third Intifada’ against the ongoing Israeli occupation of Palestinian land. The page, reportedly founded by Arab pro-Palestinian groups, set the launch date for May 15 - the day on which hundreds of thousands of Palestinians were driven from their homes in 1948 to make way for the nascent state of Israel.

The page attracted some 230,000 members within two weeks, prompting Israeli officials to lodge a complaint with the popular California-based social-networking website. On March 29, Facebook removed the page - which had at that point surpassed the 500,000-member mark - claiming that its contents were found to “promote violence”.

The page was almost immediately replaced with several copycat pages, however, which reiterated calls for “the liberation of Palestine from the [Mediterranean] Sea to the [Jordan] River” and “the return of Palestinian refugees to their homes in historical Palestine” in accordance with UN Security Council Resolution 194 of 1948.

An Arabic-language website called the 'Third Palestinian Intifada' appeared soon afterward, providing a general plan of action. The site calls for peaceful protests on Friday and Saturday (May 13 and 14) at Israeli embassies and consulates worldwide, including those in western capitals, "to express our rage about the ongoing occupation of Palestine and the expulsion of millions of Palestinians from their rightful homes."

‘Million-man’ march

On May 15, dubbed the “Sunday of Liberation”, the site had initially called for multiple million-man marches to advance on “historical Palestine” - in reference to Israel - from starting points in Egypt, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon. This was later scaled down, however, to the staging of demonstrations outside Israeli embassies in Jordan and Egypt (the two Arab states that have diplomatic relations with Tel Aviv), along with simultaneous marches near Israel’s borders in Syria, Lebanon and the occupied Palestinian territories.

According to Mounib Mohamed, 26-year-old activist from Cairo and administrator for the website’s Egypt branch, the initial plan was scrapped “because of the difficulties associated with implementing it, and in order to avoid friction with local authorities in the countries involved.”
“As for Egypt, we’re calling for million-man gatherings to be held in cities countrywide on May 13,” Mohamed explained. “Participants will then head to Cairo’s Tahrir Square, where prominent political figures are scheduled to speak about the Palestinian cause.”

“From Tahrir, we will march to the Zionist embassy, UN offices, and certain multinational store chains known to have Zionist sympathies,” said Mohamed, who is also the administrator of the Facebook page ‘Egyptians for the Intifada’.
He went on to stress that all planned activities would be “peaceful in nature” and “carried out in coordination with Egypt’s Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF)”, which has run the country’s affairs since Mubarak’s ousting.
“Our ultimate objective is the liberation of Palestine via peaceful, political means in light of Egypt’s post-Mubarak political circumstances,” Mohamed added.
Egyptian youth cooperation

Several prominent revolutionary youth groups also plan to take part, including the 6 April youth movement, which played a leading role in Egypt’s January 25 Revolution.
“The Palestinian situation is a source of pain for the entire Arab nation across the political spectrum,” 6 April media spokesperson Injie Hamdi said. “Therefore, in coordination with other like-minded youth groups, we’re endorsing calls to demonstrate from May 13 to 15 in Tahrir Square and at the Israeli embassy.”
In the three months since Mubarak’s departure, Egypt has witnessed a spate of marches and protests in front of both Israel’s embassy in Cairo and its consulate in Alexandria, where demonstrators could be seen distributing flyers about the planned event.

The 'Third Intifada' had initially included plans for a protest march to Egypt's Rafah border crossing with the Gaza Strip, which has been sealed for the most part since 2007. This plan was abandoned, however, following a promise by Egypt's SCAF-appointed foreign minister late last month that the crossing would soon be reopened on a permanent basis.

Nevertheless, the Arab Doctors Union plans to dispatch a convoy of Gaza-bound humanitarian aid through the Rafah crossing - scheduled to set out from Tahrir Square on May 15. The closure of Rafah, in tandem with Israel's five-year-old blockade of the Gaza Strip, has effectively cut the coastal enclave off from the rest of the world - subjecting its roughly 1.8 million inhabitants to excessive poverty and privation.

Notably, Palestinian faction Hamas, which governs the strip and espouses a policy of armed resistance to Israel, has not publicly endorsed calls for a 'Third Intifada'. Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas, meanwhile, who heads rival Palestinian faction Fatah and supports a discredited 'peace process' with Israel, has voiced downright opposition to the idea.

Last week, the two factions agreed in Cairo to form a national unity government, ending four years of bitter animosity. Just how the new Palestinian government plans to deal with Israel - whether by resistance or by negotiations - remains uncertain, however.

According to Kandil, the greatest benefit of Hamas-Fatah reconciliation is that the two factions "will now be able to coordinate the kind of peaceful revolutions seen recently in the Arab world". He expressed hope that the planned 'Third Intifada' would apply the lessons learned from successful Arab uprisings, especially those seen in Tunisia and Egypt.

"If the Palestinians stage peaceful protests en masse and persevere despite Israel's inevitably violent response - and are supported by simultaneous demonstrations in Arab and western capitals - the Israeli occupation's days may very well be numbered," said Kandil.

The first Palestinian Intifada lasted from 1987 until the signing of the 1993 Oslo peace accords. A second, more violent Palestinian uprising erupted in 2000 and ended with Israel's 2005 withdrawal from the Gaza Strip.

Fatah-Hamas Agreement Presents Opportunities and Challenges

Wednesday’s joint announcement in Cairo by representatives of the Palestinian political factions Fatah and Hamas that they had reached a preliminary agreement on the contours of a unity government, with new elections to be held after a year, marks an important new chapter in the Palestinian peoples’ quest for statehood. It also presents both a challenge and an opportunity for the Obama administration that should be understood against the backdrop of the broader challenges and opportunities that have arisen as part of the Arab revolutions that have swept the Middle East over the past months.

Inspired by events in Egypt and Tunisia, thousands of young Palestinians demonstrated across the West Bank and Gaza on March 15 in support of unity between Fatah and Hamas. Polling by Khalil Shikaki’s Palestinian Center for Survey and Policy Research reported overwhelming support (92 percent) among Palestinians for the reform efforts in Egypt and Tunisia, and majority support (51 percent) for ending the split between Fatah and Hamas.

While the announcement came unexpectedly, it’s not hard to understand why Fatah went for this deal. The group is facing a legitimacy crisis over its inability to achieve tangible progress toward Palestinian statehood and end the Israeli occupation. It is also gravely disappointed in the United States’ inability to change Israel’s calculus over the last two years. Fatah’s leaders have apparently decided, therefore, that they have more to gain by setting their own political house in order and moving away from a process controlled by the United States and thus dominated by Israeli concerns.

As for Hamas, the key question is why now? Hamas’s strategy thus far has been to sit back and watch Fatah fail, let the peace process crumble, and remain standing as the only viable Palestinian alternative. Going for this deal now indicates that they feel they have something to lose by continuing to stand aloof. The change to an Egyptian government less willing to rigidly enforce the United States and Israel’s red lines was also almost certainly a contributing factor.

Further, Hamas has seen its support among Gazans drop considerably. Shikaki’s polling shows “50% of Gazans are ready to participate in demonstrations to demand regime change in the Gaza Strip,” where Hamas rules, while only 24 percent of those polled in the Fatah-ruled West Bank said the same. It’s also likely that Hamas feels vulnerable with its key Arab ally and patron Bashar al-Assad facing serious unrest in Syria. The growing challenge to its rule in Gaza by even more extreme Salafist factions may have Hamas worried about its future.

Independent Palestinian activist Mustafa Barghouti told the BBC:

I think both sides have realized that the alternative is horrible and both sides have realized that if they continue to talk about the old divisions and the old differing problems, they will only continue to lose their popularity with the Palestinian people and they will cause the Palestinians a lot of suffering, more suffering than before.

Barghouti also stressed that “the new government which will be formed will be formed from independents from both Fatah and Hamas, which means that both sides are also sacrificing something to have unity.”

The United States has not, to say the least, looked favorably on Hamas in the past. It has been listed as a foreign terrorist organization by the U.S. State Department since 1993. It won a parliamentary majority in 2006, a result rejected by both the Israeli government and the Bush administration even though the latter had supported holding the elections. The short-lived Palestinian unity government under the Saudi-brokered Mecca Accord ended when Hamas fought Fatah in a brief but brutal civil war—with the Bush administration covertly arming Fatah’s cadres—in June 2007, leaving the former in control of the Gaza Strip and the latter in control of the West Bank.

In response to Hamas’s 2006 electoral victory, the U.S.-led Quartet—which also includes the United Nations, the European Union, and Russia—imposed, under heavy pressure from the Bush administration, three conditions on Hamas in order to rejoin the Palestinian government: Renounce terrorism, recognize Israel, and honor past agreements signed between Israelis and Palestinians. National Security Council spokesman Tommy Vietor reiterated those conditions yesterday in response to the news of reconciliation.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, for his part, was quick to reject the move.

“The Palestinian Authority has to choose between peace with Israel and peace with Hamas,” Mr. Netanyahu said in a statement issued even before the Palestinians had officially announced the deal. “Peace with both of them is impossible, because Hamas aspires to destroy the state of Israel and says so openly.”

The United States should continue to condemn Hamas’s terrorist actions against Israeli civilians and its refusal to recognize Israel. But Hamas has also demonstrated that its internal divisions might open avenues for it to adapt and moderate its views. Hamas’s decision to participate in the 2006 elections was the result of pragmatic calculation based on a number of factors, among them Hamas leaders’ belief that they could credibly compete with Fatah in elections. A combination of Israeli measures—including a campaign of assassinations—had also successfully degraded Hamas’s capacity to carry out terrorist attacks. Both of these things bolstered the arguments of those within Hamas who argued it was time to relinquish terrorism, if conditionally, and embrace the political process.

We’ll never know whether or not this shift was conceived as purely tactical or could have resulted in a genuine change in Hamas’s approach. By simply rejecting the results of an election it had encouraged, the Bush administration chose not to take advantage of the opportunity created by Hamas effectively endorsing the Oslo Accords by participating in elections held under its auspices. The Obama administration should not repeat this mistake.

While the Obama administration still supports the Quartet conditions—and should of course continue to insist on an end to terrorism—it should also consider a wider range of options in light of the recent agreement. U.S. law currently allows aid to a Palestinian unity government whose ministers have individually pledged adherence to the Quartet conditions even if Hamas the party has not. Congress, however, is likely to resist sending any aid to a government that includes Hamas.

The Obama administration could make clear that it will not prevent Arab allies such as the Saudis and other Gulf countries from contributing funds to keep the Palestinian Authority government operating. Palestinian unity is essential for any genuine, lasting peace between Israelis and Palestinians, and while the United States should be extremely cautious about engaging with Hamas, it should nonetheless explore the implications that this new unity agreement might have for the goal of two states for two peoples, Palestine and Israel. Given the role the conflict continues to play as a driver of resentment and violence in the region, it would be a tragic mistake to dismiss any possibility out of hand.

Two Rival Palestinian Parties, Fatah and Hamas, Reach Landmark Agreement

PressTV
May 3, 2011

After several years of bitter hostility and acrimony, the two rival Palestinian parties Fatah and Hamas eventually reached a landmark agreement on April 27 to establish a transitional government and hold free elections which can potentially transform the whole political equations of the Middle East.

The Egypt-brokered agreement, which was first announced by the official Palestinian news agency WAFA and Egypt's state-run news agency MENA, actually means that Israel's plots for isolating the popular movement of Hamas — which has been ruling the Gaza Strip following the 2006 Palestinian legislative election — will be foiled and the Palestinian nation will take a further step toward realizing its objectives and regaining its inalienable rights.

Following its victory in the 2006 elections, Hamas set forward a logically substantiated proposal for Israel and vowed to cease military operations against Tel Aviv provided that Israel accepts withdrawing from the occupied territories and freezing the settlement activities. In early February 2006, Hamas offered Israel a 10-year truce "in return for a complete Israeli withdrawal from the occupied Palestinian territories, the West Bank, Gaza Strip and East al-Quds (Jerusalem)," and the recognition of Palestinian rights including the right of refugees' return. However, Israel which had never shown any sign of willingness to retreat from its expansionistic policies, refused to accept the offer and preferred to continue military battle with Hamas — a military battle which claimed the lives of thousands of innocent Gazans and devastated a remarkable part of infrastructure in the densely populated, beleaguered coastal enclave.

According to Qatar's Al Jazeera network, Hamas and Fatah, which had been holding a set of secret talks over the past months, finally solved their disagreements; and their consultations "resulted in full understandings over all points of discussions, including setting up an interim agreement with specific tasks and to set a date for election."

The unexpected agreement, which took place following the dismissal of the brutal dictator of Egypt Hosni Mubarak (who was unquestionably an unpardonable complicit in the repression of the Palestinian nation during the past 30 years), astounded the White House and irritated the Zionist regime's officials to a great extent.

Speaking at a press conference one day after the announcement of the reconciliation agreement between Hamas and Fatah, Israel's Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman announced that the deal marked the "crossing of a red line" and would lead Hamas to have the chance to take over the Fatah-administered West Bank.

According to the peace treaty between Hamas and Fatah, the Gazan prisoners held by the Palestinian Authority will be freed; and this is what makes Lieberman and his friends in Tel Aviv excessively anxious and flabbergasted. He has claimed that the security of West Bank will be threatened with the emancipation of these prisoners.

The peace accord between Hamas and Fatah marks the beginning of a new era in the prospect of Israel-Egypt relations as well.

It's widely believed that whoever rises to power as the new leader of the Egyptian people will be necessarily more friendly to Iran and more hostile to the Zionist regime, because the cessation of ties with the criminal state of Israel and establishing cordial diplomatic ties with independent Muslim nations such as Iran was one of the basic demands of the Egyptian nation, which ousted their uncompromising dictator Mubarak after 30 years of tyranny and despotism.

Finding a solution to end the unnecessary and unproductive conflicts between the two political parties, which have the potential to salvage the Palestinian nation and fulfill their dreams of freedom and liberation from the occupation of the Zionist regime, was one of the breakthroughs of the new Egyptian government, which is gradually assuming power as the official representative of the Egyptian nation in the international community.

Now, it's quite gratifying that the two political rivals, who were once at loggerheads as a result of the seditious conspiracies of the Zionist regime, have become friends with each other and are moving towards solving the problems of the oppressed nation of Palestine.

According to a Reuters report, the Hamas government spokesman Taher al-Nono has confirmed the agreement and said that "all points of difference [between Hamas and Fatah] have been overcome." Following the statements made by Mr. al-Nono, Israel's FM warned PA and asked Mahmoud Abbas to choose "peace with Israel" instead of coming to terms with a Hamas-Fatah coalition.

Now Israel is immensely apprehensive about its future in the Middle East. The officials in Tel Aviv are realizing that their security is seriously jeopardized with the ouster of US-backed puppets in the Arab world. With the removal of Mubarak from power as the Egyptian president, they cannot foresee a promising future for the agreements which they had reached with Egypt, including the 1978 Camp David Accords and the Egypt-Israel Peace Treaty of 1979.

According to an article written by Matthew Duss on the "Center for American Progress" website, thousands of young Palestinians who were inspired by the developments in Egypt and Tunisia "demonstrated across the West Bank and Gaza on March 15 in support of unity between Fatah and Hamas. Polling by Khalil Shikaki's Palestinian Center for Survey and Policy Research reported overwhelming support (92 percent) among Palestinians for the reform efforts in Egypt and Tunisia, and majority support (51 percent) for ending the split between Fatah and Hamas."

The Palestinian nation's quest for statehood and their inclination for the settlement of conflicts between Fatah and Hamas indicate that a new era is beginning in the history of Palestinian people's resistance against the occupying regime of Israel. With their promising agreement, Fatah and Hamas laid the groundwork for the establishment of a solidified independent Palestinian state, foiling the treasonous plots of the Zionist regime and their mercenaries in the Arab world.

Fatah-Hamas Pact and the Third Intifada

PressTV
May 3, 2011

The preliminary agreement reached by the Hamas and Fatah movements for solving their disputes and forming a unity government has angered Israel.

Up until now, the two movements, which became bitter rivals following the victory of Hamas in the Palestinian parliamentary elections in 2006, had been unable to strike a deal through direct and indirect negotiations. The conflict on the ground between Hamas and Fatah resulted in a deep rift between the residents of the Gaza strip and the West Bank. The leaders of Hamas accused Fatah of oppressing their supporters and trying to drive Hamas off the political stage. Fatah claimed that the Hamas movement was hindering efforts to strike a deal between Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA) and said Hamas's confrontational approach was not in the Palestinians' interests.

Israel took advantage of the political turmoil between the two Palestinian factions and abducted 22 Hamas MPs in order to reduce their presence in parliament to below a majority. Also, the assassination of some Hamas leaders and Israel's siege of Gaza were the results of the increased tension between the two Palestinian factions.

Even though some Arab countries, such as Egypt, Syria, and Qatar, tried to negotiate peace between the two sides, the deep divide between leaders of the two movements rendered these efforts useless.

Israel, which opposes any form of alliance between the Palestinian movements, used the opportunity to expand dozens of settlements in the West Bank and al-Quds (Jerusalem). The Palestinian Authority, led by Mahmoud Abbas, said nothing about the settlement construction in order to create a front against the Hamas movement. The silence led to the expansion of Israeli settlements in the West Bank and al-Quds. The Israelis evicted hundreds of Palestinian families who had been residing in East al-Quds for many years and made them homeless.

The international community and organizations like the UN have also remained silent about Israel's violations of international law, which has encouraged Israel to continue its settlement construction activities.

Hamas leaders have frequently criticized Israel over the continuation of settlement construction, but their protests did not produce any results due to the differences between the two Palestinian factions. Over the past five years, the leaders of Hamas and Fatah held numerous meetings in Cairo, Riyadh, and Damascus to lay the foundations for reconciliation between the two movements.

However, the revolutions in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, and Yemen have prepared the ground for the Hamas and Fatah leaders to return to their policies of resistance. The fall of Egypt's Hosni Mubarak and Tunisia's Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, and the change in the regional situation, worked in favor of Hamas. Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood, the country's most influential movement since the departure of former dictator Hosni Mubarak, has expanded its relations with Hamas.

Since Hamas has a longtime ideological connection with the Muslim Brotherhood, Mubarak's ouster has paved the way for the strengthening of Hamas's political position and activities. The Fatah movement suffered the most after Mubarak's downfall since Fatah's policy of compromise had always been endorsed by Mubarak and the subservient Arab regimes over the past two decades.

With the transformation of the political structure in Egypt, the Fatah movement lost its main political sponsor in the region and its leaders were forced to make an agreement with Hamas.

The preliminary agreement between Fatah and Hamas has been hailed by the Palestinians since the people always believed the political rifts and divisions between the leaders was not in the national interests. Now the ground has been prepared for a final agreement between the Palestinian leaders on drawing up a road map for the resistance campaign, which has caused concern for the Israelis.

The Palestinian leaders have declared May 15 the day for the beginning of the Palestinians' third Intifada, and this proposal has been approved by the entire political spectrum of Palestine. On this day, all Palestinians, both inside and outside of the occupied territories, are expected to rise up against the Zionist regime. On May 15, the expelled Palestinian refugees who live in Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, and Egypt will march toward the borders of occupied Palestine and attempt to cross into the occupied territories. The move, which will be peaceful, will put the cabinet of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in a difficult position.

Many civil society institutions across the Islamic and Arab world have pledged solidarity with the Palestinians and their decision to march toward the country's borders.

Any irrational response by the Zionist regime toward the May 15 demonstrators will influence world public opinion, and the Zionist regime will be condemned by the comity of nations.

Based on the agreement, Hamas and Fatah will play a key role in determining the Palestinian nation's destiny and bringing an end to the “neither war, nor peace” situation. In response, Netanyahu announced that Acting PA Chief Mahmoud Abbas has to choose between Hamas and Israel. But Mahmoud Abbas, a.k.a Abu Mazen, has declared that the convergence with Hamas is final and there is no return.

And thus it appears that the signing of the Hamas-Fatah accord and the May 15 marches will mark a turning point in the history of Palestine as the third Intifada determines the nation's destiny.

Islamonazis Using Facebook to Start Third Intifada Against Israel, Facebook ‘Likes’ It

The New Normal
March 27, 2011

Terror-loving Palestinians have launched a movement called “Third Intifada”, whereby they intend to use Facebook to organize a third Intifada against Israel beginning on May 15th. The last Intifada resulted in the death of 5000 people.

According to the Jerusalem Post, the page is centered around the following message, composed by the administrator,
“The neighboring country will start a march to Palestine on the 15th of May. After that, all the Muslim countries will soon march, [and] Palestine will be liberated.”
Already the site has 332,700 ‘likes’, and everyone is asked to link to the page and ‘like’ it. As such people ‘like’ nothing more than to see Jews slaughtered, it is not surprising the page is so popular.

Aish.com put out this video on the site with an accompanying petition to sign asking for the removal of the vile page.



The page is in Arabic, but you can use Google translate and copy-paste the various postings to get a good idea as to how thrilled these people are at the possibility that their mission might succeed.

The page threatens Facebook with “a boycott from all Muslims” should Facebook take the page down.

But the Muslims needn’t worry about that. Facebook is shariah compliant.

This isn’t the only Facebook page dedicated to destroying Israel and killing Jews, as the above video details. The ‘social site’ is packed with despicable, hate-inspired pages aimed at Israel and Jews that Facebook refuses to take down, despite the fact that such pages are in clear violation of the site’s terms of service.

Israel has pleaded to Facebook to please remove the page, but Facebook refused. Abe Foxman, National Director of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), also begged Facebook to do the civilized thing, but Facebook essentially told the ADL to take a flying f**k at a rolling bagel.

Facebook said:
“While some kinds of comments and content may be upsetting for someone — criticism of a certain culture, country, religion, lifestyle, or political ideology, for example — that alone is not a reason to remove the discussion,” Debbie Frost, a spokeswoman for Facebook, said in an e-mailed statement.

“We strongly believe that Facebook users have the ability to express their opinions, and we don’t typically take down content, groups or Pages that speak out against countries, religions, political entities, or ideas,” she said.
This is odd considering that Facebook only recently refused to allow the posting of a tastefully done video that told the story of the savage massacre of the young Fogel family in Itamar by Palestinian cutthroats. In the Facebook universe, it is okay to call for the killing of Jews, but it is unacceptable to show what such incitement results in.

See, Facebook thinks they own the world now. Facebook thinks it is G-d. Or, rather, Allah. Should these calls for jihad come to fruition and a new round of violence explode on the scene beginning May 15th as specified, Facebook should be held accountable.

Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook CEO and co-founder, is himself a Jew, a repugnant, mentally-disturbed, self-loathing Jew who obviously cares nothing about human life, and even less about his fellow Jews since he is more than willing to risk the chance that this Facebook group and others like it could result in tremendous pain and loss. Sadly, the Left is rife with such Zuckerbergs.

Normally, this sort of threat might be shrugged off, but after what the world has witnessed over the past few months, we can see that ‘social media’ is nothing to be taken lightly.
Arutz Sheva – [...] The page, ‘Third Palestinian Intifada, urges its readers to copy the link, place it in their profiles and publish it on all pictures, videos and pages — everywhere they can. An alert announces that a march to “Palestine” will begin from neighboring countries on May 15 and soon after, “Palestine will be liberated and we will be freed. Our goal now is to reach millions of subscribers on this page before May.”

The page also includes inflammatory language that calls for supporters to build on the previous two murderous previous intifadas in which Arab terrorists murdered and wounded thousands of Israeli civilians. The second intifada is also called the Oslo War as it took place after the Oslo peace accords were signed by PLO leader Yasser Arafat and Israeli Prime Minister Yitschak Rabin. The notice refers readers to related content on other sites such as Twitter andYouTube.

“This Facebook page constitutes an appalling abuse of technology to promote terrorist violence,” said Foxman.

“We should not be so naïve to believe that a campaign for a ‘Third Intifada’ does not portend renewed violence, especially in the current climate that has seen a dramatic increase in rocket attacks from Gaza, the brutal murder of the Fogel family in the West Bank, and a terrorist bombing in Jerusalem.”

Last week, Yuli Edelstein, Israel’s Minister of Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs also sent a letter to Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook CEO and one of its founders over the issue. He wrote him that the site has “great potential to rally the masses around good causes, and we are all thankful for that. However, such potential comes hand in hand with the ability to cause great harm, such as in the case of the wild incitement displayed” on the Third Palestinian Intifada page.

A petition urging Facebook to remove the dozens of pages promoting hatred of Israel and incitement to kill Jews — incuding the page calling for a Third Intifada — has been started on the Internet by the Jerusalem-based Aish HaTorah Yeshiva. The petition calls on Facebook to “remove any pages that promote hate against Israel and the Jewish people.”
This Intifada page is even more troubling when you consider the collection of threats coming at Israel from all directions. Gaza has been firing rockets into Israel, terrorists have struck at Itamar and Central Jerusalem, and other less publicized places. Iran was caught smuggling tons of high-grade weaponry to Hamas. The Palestinians are threatening to unilaterally declare a State at the UN, and a mega-flotilla is scheduled to arrive around the same time as this call for an Intifada, to name just a few. Coincidence? There are none in the Middle East.

Facebook Deletes Page Calling for Third Intifada

Business Insider
March 29, 2011

Facebook pulled down a page on Tuesday that aimed to set in motion the Third Palestinian Intifada on May 15th.

According to a report by The Global Post, the creators — "a newly formed super-viral Palestinian group" — were inspired by the uprisings across the Middle East and North Africa.

Haaretz reports:

...Minister Yuli Edelstein wrote a letter to Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, warning that the page includes calls to kill Jews and to liberate Jerusalem through violence.

The page incites to violence and violates Facebook content regulations, wrote Edelstein.

ADL National Director Abraham Foxman said about the page: "We should not be so naïve to believe that a campaign for a ‘Third Intifada’ does not portend renewed violence, especially in the current climate that has seen a dramatic increase in rocket attacks from Gaza, the brutal murder of the Fogel family in the West Bank, and a terrorist bombing in Jerusalem."

The original page had nearly 300,000 supporters. In a statement issued on the ADL site today, Foxman welcomed Facebook's decision to take down the page:

We applaud Facebook's willingness to continue to engage and consider this important question and we deeply appreciate their responsiveness. By taking this action, Facebook has now recognized an important standard to be applied when evaluating issues of non-compliance with its terms of service involving distinctions between incitement to violence and legitimate calls for collective expressions of opinion and action. As it continues to monitor its pages, Facebook should be able to apply this standard in response to complaints about other pages with similar content. We hope that they will continue to vigilantly monitor their pages for other groups that call for violence or terrorism against Jews and Israel...

A strikingly similar page — calling for a third Intifada on May 15th — has since appeared on Facebook.



Obama is Said to be Favoring Arab Sovereignty Over the Temple Mount!

"The Middle East peace plan that United States President Barack Obama will unveil soon involves the creation of a Palestinian Authority state by 2011 and the transfer of Islamic holy sites in Jerusalem [presumably including the Temple Mount] to Arab-Muslim sovereignty... He intends to set an ambitious timetable for completing the peace deal -- something that will please Arabs but may irritate Israel." - Gil Ronen, Obama Plan: Temple Mount Under Arab-Muslim Sovereignty, Israel National News, August 23, 2009

By David Bay, Cutting Edge Ministries
August 24, 2009

There is no doubt that the Illuminati plans to address the issue of sovereignty over the Temple Mount.

In NEWS1052, I report that the New England Director of the House of Theosophy stated that one of the "breakthrough" events in allowing Antichrist to appear would be the creation of a single worship center for all Monotheistic faiths in the region, i.e., Jews, Muslims, Christians. However, the Director refused to answer my specific question as to whether this combination worship center would be built on the Temple Mount.
"As the U.N. General Assembly meets in late September, Obama aims to announce the opening of a new negotiating process between Israelis and Palestinians, along with 'confidence-building' steps by Israel, the Palestinian Authority and a number of Arab governments ... Obama 'will probably lay out at least a partial vision of the two-state settlement that all sides now say they support, and the course that negotiations should take. More significantly, he intends to set an ambitious timetable for completing the peace deal -- something that will please Arabs but may irritate Israel'."
I cannot fathom how Prime Minister Netanyahu could force this part of the plan for a Palestinian State down Israel's throat. The Temple Mount Faithful has created a cornerstone for the next Temple and enjoys wide public support. Even many secular Jews support the building of a new Jewish Temple on the Temple Mount, which means that Israel must control that area.

Could immensely strong Orthodox resistance to Arab control over the Temple Mount lead to a public campaign against them which would erode their power by making them appear to be unrealistic and too radical? After all, the Director of the House of Theosophy in Boston stated that one of the major goals of the "New Jerusalem Covenant Project" was to eliminate the Orthodox influence in Israel.

We can only wait to see how this Palestinian State plan unfolds, but one matter is certain: events are going to be very interesting and will fulfill prophecy.

Prophecies of Daniel 9:24-27, Matthew 24:15 and Revelation 11:1-12 reveal that Solomon's Temple is built for Antichrist to use. This prophetic reality means that the new Temple is built after the World War III, which is designed to produce the Man of Sin. Most significantly, the Illuminati Plan, as revealed in "The Armageddon Script," states that the New David (Antichrist) will travel to the Temple Mount and stand amongst the "rubble of the Dome of the Rock" ( p. 233-35).

Thus, the Illuminati plans to destroy the Dome of the Rock during the World War III fighting so that their Antichrist can rebuild Solomon's Temple. This reality means that Arabs will retain control over the Temple Mount until the moment Antichrist comes to the world scene and seizes it for the Jews so his temple can be created.



Prodding Israel, Obama Embraces Palestine Borders

The Associated Press
May 19, 2011

Exasperated by stalled Middle East peace talks in a season of tumultuous change, President Barack Obama jolted close ally Israel Thursday by embracing the Palestinians' terms for drawing the borders of their new nation next door. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel rejected the idea as "indefensible" on the eve of his vital White House meeting with Obama.

The U.S. president said that an independent Palestine should be based on 1967 borders — before the Six Day War in which Israel occupied East Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza — as adjusted by possible land swaps agreed upon by both sides. He said Israel can never live in true peace as a Jewish state if it insists on "permanent occupation."

Obama's effort to salvage a peace effort that is in shambles was a major change in tactics for a president running out of patience and reasons to be subtle. The Israeli-Palestinian stalemate has remained immune to the popular uprisings and historic drives for freedom that have swept much of the region.

He pushed both sides to accept his starting point — borders for Palestine, security for Israel — and get back to solving a deadlock "that has grinded on and on and on."

In a sweeping review of recent uprisings and authoritarian crackdowns across the Arab world, Obama was also unsparing in his words for the Palestinian leadership, repudiating its pursuit of unilateral statehood through the United Nations and questioning its alliance with a Hamas faction bent on Israel's destruction.

"At a time when the people of the Middle East and North Africa are casting off the burdens of the past, the drive for a lasting peace that ends the conflict and resolves all claims is more urgent than ever," Obama said, playing the rapid change of the past six months against a standoff that has stymied the Mideast for decades.

More broadly, before a polite diplomatic audience at the State Department, Obama sought to clarify the U.S. role toward a part of the world undergoing a transformation. He implored the American people to see that it is worth devoting U.S. might and money to help stabilize a dangerous region and help people fighting for freedom.

"There must be no doubt that the United States of America welcomes change that advances self-determination and opportunity," the president said. "Yes, there will be perils that accompany this moment of promise. But after decades of accepting the world as it is in the region, we have a chance to pursue the world as it should be."

It was Obama's explicit endorsement of the 1967 borders that changed the dynamic.

The U.S., the international community and even past Israeli governments have endorsed the idea of an agreement based on the 1967 lines, but Obama's new emphasis was a clear prodding for Israel to act.

The way Obama put it means the U.S. now accepts 1967 lines, with land swaps, as the basis for the borders of a Palestinian state — and not just that such a result would be the desired outcome of negotiations, as had been the U.S. stand.

The United States insists, too, that Israel end up with a safe, secure state without fear of attack from Palestinians.

In a cool statement released late Thursday in Jerusalem, Netanyahu rejected a full withdrawal from the West Bank, saying the 1967 lines would leave major Jewish settlements outside Israel. It was unclear whether Obama's stand would be enough to persuade the Palestinians to drop their push for U.N. recognition of their statehood.

In the run-up to the president's speech, the White House had sought to downplay the role of the Mideast peace standoff in his address, emphasizing instead other elements such as his proposed financial support for Egypt and Tunisia, two nations that have risen up and embraced democracy. But the address only served to underscore how central the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is to the stability of the whole region and the political interests of the United States

Obama sought to give perspective to a five-month period in which thousands have died in protests for human rights, two countries' leaders have been toppled, others are teetering, the U.S. has been drawn into an armed conflict in Libya and America has launched a stunning, successful mission to find and kill Osama bin Laden in Pakistan. The president tried to minimize bin Laden's reach even in death, saying his al-Qaida vision of destruction had already been deemed a "dead end" by those wanting a better life.

Moving country by country, Obama offered his toughest words yet for Syrian President Bashar Assad, in whom the U.S. has lost hope as a reformer given his government's bloody crackdown on dissidents. Obama did not call for Assad to step down but did accuse him of murdering his people.

"The Syrian people have shown their courage in demanding a transition," Obama said. "President Assad now has a choice: He can lead that transition or get out of the way."

One 24-year-old Syrian said the U.S. president was too late.

"It's too bad hundreds of people died before he made the speech," said Mustafa, who fled the coastal town of Banias, which has seen some of the biggest protests in recent weeks, and who did not give his surname for fear of reprisals. "I think it's too late for Assad to lead a peaceful transition to democracy after all that happened."

In seizing his own Mideast moment, Obama offered a speech that was in some ways notable for what he did not mention.

While critical of autocracy throughout the Mideast, he failed to mention the region's largest, richest and arguably most repressive nation, U.S. ally Saudi Arabia. Nor did he mention Jordan, a staunch U.S. ally that has a peace deal with Israel. Also left out was the United Arab Emirates, the wealthy, pro-American collection of mini-states on the Persian Gulf.

On the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, he raised the question of Hamas but did not seek to answer it. A proposed unity Palestinian government would pair the Fatah-dominated administration in the West Bank and the Gaza-run Hamas, which is considered a terrorist organization by the U.S. and seeks to destroy Israel.

"How can one negotiate with a party that has shown itself unwilling to recognize your right to exist?" Obama asked. "In the weeks and months to come, Palestinian leaders will have to provide a credible answer to that question."

Obama also conceded that borders were just a start. He had no blueprint for resolving enormous conflicts over the status of Jerusalem and the fate of Palestinian refugees.

And he gave little attention to Iran, where U.S. attempts at outreach have gone nowhere.

On Yemen, a key partner in the U.S. fight against al-Qaida, Obama called on President Ali Abdullah Saleh to keep his commitment to transfer power

. On Bahrain, home to the U.S. Navy's Fifth Fleet, Obama said the only way forward is dialogue between the government and opposition, "and you can't have a real dialogue when parts of the peaceful opposition are in jail."

Israel Rejects Total Pullback to 1967 Borders

Reuters
May 19, 2011

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu headed for talks in Washington on Friday saying that U.S. President Barack Obama's vision of a Palestinian state on the borders of 1967 could leave Israel "indefensible."

"The viability of a Palestinian state cannot come at the expense of Israel's existence," he said in a statement before flying to the United States for scheduled talks with Obama.

Responding to a major Obama speech on Thursday outlining Middle East strategy, Netanyahu said he expected Washington to let Israel keep major settlement blocs beyond the 1967 lines in the occupied West Bank, under any peace deal with Palestinians.

Israeli officials seemed taken aback by the language in Obama's speech. Asked if Netnayahu had been forewarned by Washington, one said: "No comment." But some Israeli reporters accompanying the prime minister predicted a stormy meeting.

Setting out the principles of a Middle East peace accord, Obama reaffirmed the U.S. commitment to Israel's security.

He called for a deal resulting in two states, Israel and Palestine, sharing the border that existed before Israel captured the West Bank in the 1967 Middle East war.

It would include "mutually agreed land swaps," he said. In a pointed reply, Netanyahu said he expected "to hear a reaffirmation from President Obama of U.S. commitments made to Israel in 2004" -- an allusion to a letter by then-President George W. Bush suggesting the Jewish state may keep big settlement blocs as part of any peace pact.

"Those commitments relate to Israel not having to withdraw to the 1967 lines," Netanyahu added. Such a border, Netanyahu said, would be "indefensible."

ABBAS "APPRECIATES" OBAMA EFFORTS

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas welcomed Obama's efforts to renew the talks with Israel that collapsed last year, and had made plans to convene an "emergency" session of Palestinian and Arab officials to weigh further steps, a senior aide said.

Saeb Erekat, a former chief peace negotiator, said:

"Abbas expresses his appreciation of the continuous efforts exerted by President Obama with the objective of resuming the permanent status talks in the hope of reaching a final status agreement."

Obama's blunt language about the need to find an end to Israel's occupation of Arab land looked certain to be the crunch issue in his talks with Netanyahu.

"The dream of a Jewish and democratic state cannot be fulfilled with permanent occupation," Obama said.

His emphasis on 1967 borders went further than Obama has before in offering principles for resolving the stalemate between Israel and the Palestinians. But he stopped short of presenting a formal U.S. peace plan.

Obama's criticism of continued Israeli "settlement activity" sent a message to Netanyahu on the eve of their talks that Washington expects the Jewish state to make concessions.

A senior member of Netanyahu's right-wing Likud party, Danny Danon, accused Obama of seeking to destroy Israel by adopting the vision of the late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat.

"Netanyahu only has one option: to tell Obama to forget about it," Danon said, according to Israeli media.

However, Obama's suggestion that negotiations should focus initially on territory and security, leaving the difficult issues of Jerusalem and the return of Palestinian refugees to a later date, appeared to chime with Netanyahu's own position.

Likewise, Obama's firm rejection of Palestinian moves to seek recognition of their statehood at the United Nations delighted Israeli officials. Abbas made no comment.

The Palestinians plan to pursue their statehood quest in September at the annual meeting of the U.N. General Assembly.

Peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians, brokered by Washington, collapsed last year when Netanyahu refused to extend a moratorium on Jewish settlement-building in the West Bank and Abbas refused to carry on negotiations.

In Gaza, the Islamist Palestinian movement Hamas said Obama had no business criticizing the recent reconciliation pact between Hamas and Abbas's secular Fatah movement, intended to end a damaging four-year split and produce a unity government.

"The peoples of the region are not in need of Obama's lectures," spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said. "Obama reaffirmed his absolute support for the policies of the (Israeli) occupation and his rejection of any criticism of the Occupation."

"We affirm that Palestinian reconciliation is a Palestinian affair and that the (peace) negotiations have proven to be pointless," he said. "Hamas will never recognize the Israeli occupation under any circumstances."

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1 comment:

  1. This is not explain very well it is like a shotgun just shooting. We are very near to the sixth trumpet War and when it takes place there will be no mistake about it. It will become a nuclear war. The United States of America will not be wiped out see that they nourish Israel in the Great Tribulation which is only three and a half years there is not 7 years of tribulation only three and a half years. There is a lot of things that were said that are true and if we have ever awaken the nation it's time to get busy.

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